“There’s no bigger cheerleader for County College of Morris (CCM) than me,” says Kelly Carmona, of Randolph.
It’s hard to argue with the woman who now holds three degrees – two of them from CCM – the latest received this May in exercise science. She shared the moment of walking at commencement this time with her husband, Marvin Carmona, as the two took classes together to obtain their associate degrees.
Kelly Carmona, a certified public accountant, is also a fourth-degree black belt and a former CCM adjunct professor. The combination of accomplishments is unique, but so is the story of how she got there.
Carmona, who originally wanted to be an engineer, began taking classes at CCM in 1982. She quickly found a job working in the office of a construction company, where she realized she had a propensity for accounting. Apparently the apple didn’t fall far from the tree, as her father owned his own accounting practice and was looking for help. So, in 1990 she began working at the practice and soon went back to CCM for her associate’s in business with a concentration in accounting. She obtained that degree in 1994 and transferred to the College of St. Elizabeth for her business administration degree with a concentration in accounting and a minor in history.
While at CCM, she also found her love of martial arts, as well as the love of her life. Carmona asked Professor Rick Wynn if he knew of any good self-defense courses. Wynn referred her to Marvin Carmona’s New Jersey Martial Arts Academy in Landing. Now, 21 years later, Kelly Carmona herself is a fourth-degree black belt in Isshinryu karate and the head instructor at the academy’s Randolph location.
The two decided to get their exercise science degrees at CCM in anticipation of a state requirement where martial arts schools may become licensed. Carmona says their academy is ranked in the top 1 percent nationally for full-time schools. She says it was a joy to get her latest degree with her husband.
“It was a blast,” she says. “Every day I’d say I’m so lucky to go to college with my college sweetheart.”
CCM is familiar to Carmona not only from her two degrees, but also from when she was an adjunct professor from 1998-2003. In addition, two of her four children are CCM students and her late mother is an alumna.
“It’s a phenomenal school,” she says. “I literally grew up two streets away and was sleigh riding on the property before they built it. I’ve been there from the beginning.”
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Photo: Kelly Carmona, right, received her third academic degree – her second at County College of Morris – while attending with her husband Marvin Carmona, left. The two own New Jersey Martial Arts Academy.